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News and Views

Upcoming coverage

Be sure to check back frequently with MousePlanet starting this Wednesday morning. We will have a small army at Disneyland on May 3, 4, and 5 and we'll all be working to bring you continuous “blog” type coverage, including news, images, video, and links of interest as the various events unfold. Coverage will begin Wednesday morning with a recap of the press activities on Tuesday night and then won't stop until Disney does. Or, you can get it all in digest form in this space next Monday when we will distill it all down.


The golden teacup remains under wraps. Photo by Sheila Hagen.


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Meanwhile the golden Mr. Toad vehicle is out to see. Photo by Sheila Hagen.

A crowded DCA?

Park watchers should be prepared for a relatively rare site this week as it should be expected that Disney's California Adventure park is going to be pretty crowded. The park is to extend its hours on Wednesday and Thursday (that is, until 9 p.m. rather than the normal weekday closing time of 6 p.m.).

With Disneyland closed on Wednesday for the big media events and celebrity party, DCA is the only option for most guests, though the first official performances of the Block Party Bash parade should keep people happy about not getting to see Spencer Breslin party down in Fantasyland. The crowds should continue on Thursday and into the weekend as some guests seek to escape the masses of people at Disneyland, or especially if Disneyland reaches capacity and guests face a choice of hitting DCA or just driving back home.

Expect huge locals crowd on at least Sunday, May 8, since this weekend is just like any other as far as annual pass blackout dates are concerned, and Sunday will be the first opportunity for many local pass holders to see the celebrations without missing work or ponying up for a ticket.

After the weekend, though, hours return to normal until the summer hours kick in the second weekend of June.


The new floral Mickey arrangement under the Main Street Station, a Mickey Mouse sculpture will greet visitors to the park. Photo by Sheila Hagen.

“Disneyland is full—go away”

One of the most common questions we get these days: “Is it true that Disneyland closes when enough people are inside?” The validity of this concern was reinforced when representatives from Disney last week asked us to add a disclaimer to our announcement of the 50th Anniversary tour on just this issue.

Yes, once a certain number of people has entered Disneyland's gates, the park closes to further admissions. So on key dates, it is always a good idea to get into the park as early as possible to ensure entry, and don't leave the park without first ensuring you'll be able to reenter (usually, once you've made it in, you can leave and reenter without issue, but it is best to confirm this). Guests of Disney's three on–property hotels should be guaranteed entry, but you should confirm this as well before putting it to the test.

Note that entering Disney's California Adventure earlier in the day does not ensure later entry into Disneyland itself.


An Australian morning show taping on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Sheila Hagen.

The 50th Anniversary's best-kept secret

Tickets for Disneyland's new 50th Anniversary guided tour went on sale Wednesday, April 27, although this new tour may be one of the best-kept secrets of the celebration. The 3 1/2 hour tour is $55 and runs four times each day. Each tour accommodates up to 16 guests. Depending on the time of day, the tour includes the following elements:

  • Priority boarding for five attractions for the first tour of the day, and three attractions for the rest of the day's tours
  • Tour pin
  • An illustrated replica of an A–E ticket book
  • Commemorative photo
  • Snack
  • Priority seating to the Parade of Dreams (second and third tours), or Remember... Dreams Come True fireworks (4th tour only)

Call 714-781-4400 to make your reservation.

Beware! If you have a reservation for a May 5 afternoon tour, you are strongly encouraged to enter the park earlier in the day to secure your admission into the park itself. If you can not get to your tour because Disneyland has reached capacity you may be offered an opportunity to attend a different day, or in rare cases a refund.


Two very large LCD monitors have been installed in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Image ©Disney.

MouseAdventure Personal Edition

Before and after every MouseAdventure event, we receive a lot of email asking to purchase the game packet so some family can play when they visit the park. For various reasons we've resisted this, even though we love the idea of it.

We have finally changed our minds, at least on a trial basis. For $25 you can purchase your own copy of the Open Division game held on March 13, 2005. It has been edited slightly to remove things that could only be done in the context of the larger event, but remains mostly unchanged. As always, we must add this disclaimer: We do not guarantee that any particular puzzle will continue to work or make sense in the face of changes at Disneyland. Also, to solve the puzzles really requires being at the park; these are not things that can be done at home in your recliner while sitting by the fire. If interested, visit our MouseAdventure page (link) and click the purchase link.


Tinker Belle tops have been added to several of the lamps on Main Street. Image ©Disney.

Empty your wallets

The Disney Gallery has put together a brochure of 50th Anniversary merchandise release dates and events (link). Pretty much every Disneyland fan is going to find something they want. On that page, cilck on the month of release to see images of the products. A selection of our favorites:


Stitch gets a Disney Dollar (well, a D$10 bill), along with such illustrious company as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Dumbo. Image ©Disney.


Robert Olszewski's model of Main Street Station. Image ©Disney.


A replica of the gone—but not forgotten—Disneyland marquee. Image ©Disney.


A Disneyland map by the artist Shag. Image ©Disney.

DRR Ward Kimball update

Work on the Ward Kimball locomotive, part of the Disneyland Railroad, has hit a bit of a snag that puts its availability for May 5 in question. Disney has discovered that the “trailing truck” (the four little wheels at the back of the engine, under the tender), does not have enough power in its springs to support the tender. [The truck was built by Disney as a replacement for No. 3 Fred Gurley. No. 3's tender weighs significantly less than the Ward Kimball's rather large tender.] Essentially, the suspension is “bottomed out.” Thanks, as awlays, goes to Steve DeGaetano for keeping us informed. Steve also reports that the Lilly Belle, while in sorry shape, does seem to be getting some attention back in the roundhouse.

Do you think it is official?

Though the “official” official announcement will be made on the evening of May 3 to the collected press, it is safe to say that it is now officially unofficial (an upgrade from the previous unofficially official) that long–shuttered SuperStar Limo in Disney's California Adventure park is being turned into a Monster, Inc., ride.


A Disney painter adds the Monsters, Inc., logo to the updated facade. Photo by Andrew Rich.


The Monsters, Inc., logo. Photo by Andrew Rich.

Disneyland CD set sells quickly

Amazingly, it appears that it took less than 24 hours for the six–CD limited edition A Musical History of Disneyland set, featuring a gold vinyl album reproduction of Walt Disney Takes You To Disneyland: A Musical Tour of the Magic Kingdom, the first every album released by Walt Disney Records, to sell out the 1,000 copies allocated to Disney Direct. If you were not one of the lucky 1,000, do not yet despair. Walt Disney World will have 1,000 copies to sell, and 3,000 copies are at Disneyland. Some copies have been leaking out at Disneyland, but there should still be many copies left when they officially go on sale on May 5. If the color of the vinyl doesn't matter to you, a “Special Edition” (the same recordings, but the vinyl is black instead of gold) is now available at Disney Direct (link) for the same price. The item number, for those ordering by phone, is #61589. An open edition (with no vinyl) will be available from retailers, starting in September, for the same list price as the Special Edition that is available from Disney.

Academy Animation Exhibit

Animation fans in the Los Angeles area may be interested in a free exhibit of animated–film poster art opening soon at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences gallery. Over 150 posters and lobby cards—just a fraction of the entire Cudequest Family Collection—covers everything from silent era up to modern day with The Incredibles.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday and open to the general public for free. The exhibit opens May 13 and runs until August 21. See the official page (link) for full details.

Thanks to MousePlanet reader tod for bringing this to our attention. If you know of any events (particularly in the Los Angeles or Orlando area) that may be of particular interest to Disney fans, please send us an e–mail (link) so we can get the word out.

Ears to the ground...

…Last week we reported that both Mickey's Magic Kingdom Celebration and Sleeping Beauty's Royal Celebration had seen their final performances. This was incorrect as Mickey's Magic Kingdom Celebration returns and fills the morning parade slot at Disneyland during the summer while Parade of Dreams servers as the afternoon and evening parade. We apologize for the error.

…The castle shop in Fantasyland is now converted pretty much entirely to a 50th Anniversary merchandise location.


All 50th, all the time. Photo by Sheila Hagen.

…For the last few weeks we have listed a two-month closure of Pirates of the Caribbean later this year. While this is what we've heard, it should be empahsized that things are always somewhat speculative this far out. There are lots of rumors swirling about as to why such a lengthy closure would be necessary. For now we're leaving it on the list, but will update if any new information comes through.

…As part of the 50th Anniversary press event for Disneyland, Disney will apparently be announcing a major donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs. Reportedly, the company will be giving $1 million to the Orlando club, $1 million to the clubs in California, and $1 million to the organization's headquarters in Washington, DC.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. E–mail us here.

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Disneyland

Note: Disneyland is progressively refurbishing more and more attractions as the park readies for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2005.
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln opens May 4 with installation the 50th Anniversary exhibit in the Main Street Opera House
  • Disney Gallery opens May 4
  • Jungle Cruise opens May 4
  • Casey Jr. Circus Trains opens May 4
  • Goofy's Bounce House opens May 4
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats opens May 4
  • Space Mountain opens July 15
  • Haunted Mansion closed September 6–29 to install Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay; closed Jan. 9–25, 2006 to remove overlay
  • Pirates of the Caribbean closed October 3 through December 13 (this is what we're hearing, it could change; feel free to send the paniced emails, but that's the response for now).
  • Submarine Lagoon is now behind a construction wall and has been drained.

Disney's California Adventure

  • SuperStar Limo building has ongoing construction for an unannounced (Monsters, Inc.) new attraction.


The SuperStar Limo ride vehicles have been removed from the attraction and are currently being stored backstage. Photo by Sheila Hagen.

Note: Refurbishment schedules are estimates only. All information is subject to change without notice. To get the most recent updates, call Disneyland at (714) 781–7290.

Park Events

May

  • Disneyland closed on May 4, 2005 to “put the finishing touches” on the 50th Anniversary celebration. DCA open on May 4.
  • Disneyland's 50th Anniversary celebration begins May 5.
  • Mother's Day Brunch at Disneyland Hotel on May 8. Sold out, but information available at 714–781–DINE.

June

  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. June 18 at Disneyland Park. Two new Main Street pieces in his “Disneyland in Miniature” collection: Main Street Train Station and Main Street Train. Also released will be Dapper Dan and Fab Five character packs.
  • Shag merchandise release and reception. June 24 at the Paradise Pier Hotel. Five new Shag paintings and associated merchandise will be sold and a reception and meet–and–greet with the artist will be held. Reservations open May 9 (link).
  • 2005 Summer Pin Festival. June 24 – Aug. 15 at the Disneyland Resort. No details have been announced (link).

July

  • Disneyland 50th Anniversary special event. July 15–17. Three days of merchandising events with multiple purchase plans (link).
  • July 2005 NFFC convention. July 9–13. The Show and Sale is scheduled for July 10.
  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. July 16 at Grand Californian Hotel. The first non–Main Street piece in his “Disneyland in Miniature” collection: Mad Tea Party.

September

  • Robert Olszewski merchandise release. September 10 at Disneyland Park. Several new pieces in his “Disneyland in Miniature” collection: Disney Showcase/Magic Shop/20th Century Music and Jungle Cruise as well as a pin trading cart and a marching band character pack.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Several current promotions offer discounted admission to the Disneyland Resort. For convenience sake, we have grouped the discount offers based on the number of days the tickets are valid. Check out the category that best matches the amount of time you plan to spend at the resort, and pick the offer which works best for you. And keep those tips coming – let us know if you find a better / different offer, so we can share it with other readers!

One Day

No discounts offered to the general public for single–day admission. You might find discounted tickets, starting at around $41 for ages 10 and up, through your employer, student organization or professional association. Check with your group activity office or human resources department.


Two Days

AAA Flex Passport ($98/$78) – Some AAA offices offer a 2–day Flex Passport at $98 for ages 10 and up, or $78 for ages 3–9. This ticket does not require a hotel or package purchase—check with your local office to see if the ticket is available in your area.

A reader let us know that AAA offices in Oregon and Idaho do not offer the 2–day version of this ticket, but instead offer a 3–day pass.


Three Days

AAA Flex Passport ($129/$99) – Some AAA offices offer a 3–day Flex Passport at $129 for ages 10 and up, or $99 for ages 3–9. This ticket does not require a hotel or package purchase – check with your local office to see if the ticket is available in your area.


City Pass ($185/$127) – The cost of a CityPass increases to $185 for ages 10 and up, but decrease to $127 for ages 3–9. The pass includes a 3–Day Disneyland Resort park hopper bonus ticket (includes a $10 ESPN Zone game card and one early admission), one day admission to Knott's Berry Farm, Sea World San Diego, and either the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Wild Animal Park. The CityPass still expires 14 days after first use. Purchase CityPass through the Disneyland Web site, at the Disneyland Resort, at the other theme parks included in the pass, or directly from the CityPass Web site (link).


3–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets ($109/$109) ($139/$109) – The park hopper bonus tickets currently include one early entry admission to Fantasyland and a $10 ESPN Zone game card. If the Disneyland resort portion of your trip concludes by May 11, 2005, you can take advantage of the “Adults Play for the Kids' Price” special. Through this advance purchase offer, 3–day park hopper tickets for ages 3 and up are $109, a savings of $20–50 off the main gate price. Expires 13 days after first use or May 11, 2005, whichever comes first.

If you plan to visit the Disneyland resort after April 28, take advantage of the Advance Purchase discount to save $20 per ticket, as detailed above. Expires 13 days after first use or January 15, 2006, whichever comes first.

Both offers are available at the Disneyland Web site (link), some Southern California AAA offices, some Disney Stores, or your travel agent. Must be purchased in advance, and are not available at the Disneyland resort ticket booths.

Several readers wrote to tell us that the Safeway stores in Central and Northern California, and Vons stores in Las Vegas, are also offering the 3–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets. Check with your local Safeway store for details, as the dates and benefits may differ.


Four Days

4–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets ($129/$129) ($159/$129) – The park hopper bonus tickets currently include one early entry admission to Fantasyland, and a $10 ESPN Zone game card. If the Disneyland resort portion of your trip concludes by May 11, 2005, take advantage of the “Adults Play for the Kids' Price” special. Through this advance purchase offer, 4–day park hopper tickets for ages 3 and up are $129, a savings of $30–60 off the main gate price. These tickets expire 13 days after first use or May 11, 2005, whichever comes first.

If you plan to visit the Disneyland Resort after April 28, you can still take advantage of the Advance Purchase discount and save $30 per ticket, as detailed above. These tickets expire 13 days after first use or January 15, 2006, whichever comes first.

Both of these ticket offers are available through the Disneyland Web site (link), through some Southern California AAA offices, through some Disney Stores, or through your travel agent. You must buy these tickets in advance; they are not available at the Disneyland Resort ticket booths.


Five Days

Disney's AAA Passport Plus Package 2005 ($169/$139) – The 5–day Passport Plus park hopper ticket is $169 for ages 10 and up, and $139 for ages 3–9. This package includes:

  • Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket
  • $10 ESPN Zone Arena game card
  • Preferred seating at select shows in Disney's California Adventure park
  • California Diamond Fun Book (one per package – may not be available when you order)
  • Free parking at Disneyland Resort theme parks
  • Early entry into Fantasyland on select days

An additional handling fee of $10 is charged per mailing address. These tickets are available to AAA members only when purchased through participating AAA offices.

Several readers report that their local AAA offices do not offer this ticket, or that the benefits differ. You may remember that this also happened with the 2004 version of this package.

MousePlanet has contacted AAA offices around the country and encountered the same problem. If your local AAA office does not offer the ticket, check with another AAA office in your area. The decision to offer this ticket seems to depend on which regional AAA “club” you belong to, and in some cases rest with the office manager at each location.

The Auto Club of Southern California (ACSC) is not participating in this offer, and AAA Oregon/Idaho offers the 5–day tickets. Some readers have also been told that the California Diamond Fun Book is no longer available.


5–Day Park Hopper Bonus tickets ($139/$139) ($169/$139) – The park hopper bonus tickets currently include one early entry admission to Fantasyland, and a $10 ESPN Zone game card. If the Disneyland Resort portion of your trip concludes by May 11, 2005, take advantage of the “Adults Play for the Kids' Price” special. Through this advance purchase offer, 5–day park hopper tickets for ages 3 and up are $139, a savings of $40–70 off the main gate price. These tickets expire 13 days after first use or May 11, 2005, whichever comes first.

If you plan to visit the Disneyland Resort after April 28, take advantage of the Advance Purchase discount and save $40 per ticket, as detailed in above. These tickets expire 13 days after first use or January 15, 2006, whichever comes first.

Both of these ticket offers are available through the Disneyland Web site (link), through some Southern California AAA offices, through some Disney Stores, or through your travel agent. These tickets must be purchased in advance, and are not available at the Disneyland resort ticket booths.


Alaska Airlines “Kids Fly Free” promotion through June 29, 2005 – If you have to fly to Southern California, Alaska Airlines has a package that includes either a free 5–day park hopper with each paid adult ticket, or an adult 5–day park hopper for the children's price. You must book packages by June 1, and travel must be completed by June 29. Visit the Alaska Airlines Web site (link) for more details.


Six or Seven Days

Disney's AAA Passport Plus Package 2005 – The Parkhopper Plus package may be available in 6– or 7– day increments at participating AAA offices. Check with your local AAA office for availability and pricing:

  • Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket
  • $10 ESPN Zone Arena game card
  • Preferred seating at select shows in Disney's California Adventure Park
  • California Diamond Fun Book (one per package – may not be available when you order)
  • Free parking at Disneyland Resort theme parks

An additional handling fee of $10 is charged per mailing address. These tickets are available to AAA members only when purchased through AAA offices.

Several readers report that their local AAA offices do not offer this ticket, or that the benefits differ. You may remember that this also happened with the 2004 version of this package. MousePlanet has contacted AAA offices around the country, and encountered the same problem. If your local AAA office does not offer the ticket, check with another AAA office in your area. The decision to offer this ticket seems to depend on which regional AAA “club” you belong to, and in some cases rests with the office manager at each location.

The Auto Club of Southern California (ACSC) is not participating in this offer, and AAA Oregon/Idaho offers the 5–day tickets. Some readers have also been told that the California Diamond Fun Book is no longer available.


Special thanks to MousePlanet reader David Michael for some of this information.

50th Anniversary Package, revised

The Happiest Homecomings on Earth package has been revised for the new year. The previous promotion was good only for three–night stays at the Disneyland Resort hotels; the new offer is valid on longer stays and includes Good Neighbor Hotels as well.

Instead of the 50th anniversary commemorative clock and Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour, the new packages include all the following:

  • “Enchanting” commemorative certificate (one per package)
  • Park Hopper bonus ticket, which includes one early entry into Fantasyland and a $10 ESPN Zone game card. (Park hopper tickets can be upgraded to an annual pass for an extra fee)
  • Preferred seating to select shows at Disney's California Adventure
  • Entry into Mickey's Toontown Madness
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. lanyard and pin (one per person)
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. luggage tag
  • Walt Disney Travel Co. fun book (one per package)

The “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” package is available for arrival dates through December 31, 2005. The package can be booked through the Disneyland Web site (link), or by calling (714) 520–5060.

ESPN Zone MVP Club

If you sign up online for ESPN Zone's MVP Club (link) you can receive a $20 voucher (for food, merchandise, or game cards), a 40–point game card (about $10 worth), and an ESPN Zone mini–cooler. ESPN Club in Orlando is excluded from this offer. You must pick up these items in person, although they do not have to be used as the same store from which you get them. There are some fairly strict requirements for registering and getting your rewards, so make sure you read the details carefully (link).


Park Schedule/Blockout Dates

DL: Disneyland
DCA: Disney's California Adventure
Annual Pass blockout dates:

  • SL – Southern California Select Annual Pass
  • SC – Southern California Annual Pass
  • DX – Deluxe Annual Pass
Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
5/2 5/3 5/4 5/5 5/6 5/7

 

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–8p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: Closed
DCA: 9a–9p

DL: 9a–11p
DCA: 9a–9p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

5/8 5/9 5/10 5/11 5/12 5/13 5/14

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

5/15 5/16 5/17 5/18 5/19 5/20 5/21

DL: 8a–11p
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 10a–9p
DCA: 10a–6p

DL: 9a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL

DL: 8a–Mid
DCA: 10a–9p
SL/SC/DX

Visit our Annual Passholders Blockout Dates 2005 page to see more dates. You can see future calendar schedules at Disneyland.com here.

Entertainment schedule: Go directly to the Disneyland Resort schedule for this week at Disneyland.com here.



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